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Social media spend

This Freedom of Information request asks for the total spend by OS on social media advertising.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI221063


Thank you for your email of 19 January 2022, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, as set out in the extract below:

“This is an information request relating to social media spending.  Please include the information for each of the following periods; 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22: The total spend by the organisation on social media advertising, including a breakdown by year and by form of social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)”

Our response

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold the information that you have requested, however, we are unable to comply with your request and provide the information, as we consider the information to be exempt from disclosure under section 12 of the FOIA, as explained below.

Section 12 (Cost limit)

Organisational spend on social media advertising is not held in one central location, to be able so supply you with the information requested would require the various departments to complete a manual exercise, to search and analyse the records held to be able to attribute the spend to a specific media platform.

In addition, we may not hold records relating to which form of social media platform was used for all the spend figures. As this information is not readily accessible the time spent dealing with the request will exceed a period of 18 hours and we are therefore entitled to refuse to comply with the request pursuant to section 12(1) of the FOIA, where the authority estimates the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

This is an absolute exemption and therefore not subject to the public interest test,

However, under the duty to provide information and assistance in accordance with section 16 of FOIA, we can provide the following information which may assist you in this matter.

With a view to bringing your request within the cost limit, Ordnance Survey can provide the total spend by OS on social media for each of the three years requested, however, we would not be able to break the total for each year down by form of social medial platform.

To clarify, we can provide you with a total figure on social media advertising spend for 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.

We will treat a refined request as a new request for information.

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.